Apprentice sprinkler installer wins international competition

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Ryan Young, a fourth-year apprentice with UA Sprinkler Fitters Ontario Local 853, recently won the main title at the 31st International Apprentice Competition in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Young faced six other apprentices, five from the United States and one from Australia. The grueling five-day competition included tests on basic theoretical knowledge, code usage, blueprint reading, welding, and a large hands-on project.

“Just about every aspect of the job, things that you never think you have to face when you learn it in school, are all the things that you are tested on when competing,” Young explained, which installs new sprinklers in renovated or modernized units.

The major project was to install a single locking deluge system with a foam connection.

“You had to shut off a deluge valve connected to a main line that had two sectional shut-off valves and a sensing line that could accommodate two sprinkler heads, so you also had to attach a foam system in the main line for the deluge,” Young explained.

The hardest part of the competition for Young was the time constraints and deadlines.

“They give you a certain amount of time to do something, and for a guy to do it, you run to the point where your boots sweat,” he described, adding that studying is essential because it involves more than that. that you do on a daily basis.

In order to compete in the international competition, Young, representing central Canada, entered and won the UA Canada National Competition earlier this year in Edmonton by beating two other Canadian apprentices representing western and eastern Canada.

He also competed in Skills Ontario and Skills Canada and won both.

In addition to his participation in previous competitions and his hands-on experience in the trade, Young said his classroom apprenticeship training provided him with a good foundation to prepare for the competition.

“You review a lot of what you have to do (in the competition),” Young said. “It helped a lot, especially with the theoretical part. On top of that, I had to render a lot of service when I started the craft of taking you into the valve rooms and getting you into the inner workings of the system, instead of just laying pipes I have so gained some experience there. And was it good.

The AU includes plumbers, welders, steam fitters, sprinkler fitters and HVACR technicians from across Canada and the United States.

The AU is affiliated with Australian and Irish unions. Instructors from all three countries meet once a year in Michigan for an instructor training course and the international apprenticeship competition is held at the same time.


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